NEWS

Watercraft last used out-of-state must be inspected for AIS

Inspections mandatory before launching in Wyoming

2/27/2023 6:25:01 PM

Cheyenne - Spring and summer might feel far away, but boating season is approaching in the Cowboy State. Beginning March 1, any watercraft transported into Wyoming must undergo a mandatory inspection to look for aquatic invasive species. Inspections must be done by a certified AIS inspector prior to launching on any Wyoming waters. 

A listing of inspectors is available on the Game and Fish website. Boaters are encouraged to plan ahead for inspections.

Boaters who frequent northeast Wyoming reservoirs should be aware of the upcoming changes. This year there will not be boat ramp restrictions at Keyhole and Glendo reservoirs. Instead, existing check stations in the towns of Beulah and Torrington, as well as Glendo and Keyhole reservoirs will operate with increased staffing and hours. Two new check stations will open in the towns of Newcastle and Manville. 

These changes were made due to the discovery of zebra mussels at nearby Pactola Reservoir in South Dakota — 30 miles from the Wyoming Border in July 2022. This is the closest location to Wyoming where this species has been found, significantly increasing the risk to Wyoming’s waters. Game and Fish inspection data shows Keyhole and Glendo are frequent destinations for boaters who visit Pactola.

“Wyoming is one of the few states left in the nation that hasn’t detected the invasive zebra or quagga mussels in our waters,” said Josh Leonard, AIS coordinator. “Game and Fish is dedicated to keeping these destructive invasive species out of our state’s waters. That’s why it’s crucial that out-of-state boaters and residents who have taken their boats out of Wyoming get their watercraft inspected before launching on any Wyoming waters.”

Beginning in early March, Game and Fish AIS check stations across Wyoming will resume seasonal operations. All boaters must stop when encountering an open AIS check station on their route of travel.

The best defense against AIS is vigilance by the public. Watercraft owners can make their check station stop quicker if their watercraft are Clean, Drained and Dry upon arrival. Additionally, before hitting the water this spring, boaters should remember that:

  • Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1-Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching on any Wyoming waterway. If the watercraft was used on a water suspect or positive for invasive mussels in the last 30 days, it must be inspected prior to launching year-round and may require decontamination.
  • If boaters entering Wyoming do not encounter an open AIS check station on their route of travel, it is the boater’s responsibility to seek out an inspection before launching on any Wyoming waterway. Inspection locations may be found on the AIS website.
  • Along with watercraft registration, watercraft used on Wyoming waters must have an AIS Decal. A Wyoming AIS decal must be displayed on all watercraft (including rentals) using Wyoming waters with the exception of both soft and hard-sided stand-up paddle boards, amphibious vehicles propelled by wheels and non-motorized inflatable watercraft 10 feet in length or less. While these watercraft are not required to have a decal, they still require an inspection when coming from out of state. 
  • Boats must stop at established check stations each time a boater passes a check station. Inspections are also available at Game and Fish regional offices but you must call ahead.
  • A watercraft may launch without further inspection if the watercraft has a properly affixed seal applied by an authorized inspector and is accompanied by a valid seal receipt during transit. The person transporting the watercraft may remove the seal immediately prior to launching on the destination water and must retain the seal and valid seal receipt while on the water.
  • Even if a watercraft has been previously inspected and has a valid seal and seal receipt, boaters are still required to stop at any open AIS check station. Having the properly affixed seal and valid seal receipt will expedite the inspection process.
For the most recent and up-to-date information on Wyoming AIS visit the Game and Fish website. The 2023 AIS decal is also available online. There is a combination watercraft registration and AIS Decal that may be purchased for one or three years for boats registered in Wyoming.

For more information watercraft can call the Game and Fish Office at (307) 777-4600.

(Breanna Ball, Public Information Officer - (breanna.ball1@wyo.gov))

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